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MRAs: Let’s bring back torture devices for women!

Actual 16th century Scottish "Scold's Bridle."

When you think they can’t get any creepier, they do. Here’s a disturbing new Men’s Rights meme-in-formation I’ve recently run across.

In a late-December rant about anti-porn feminist Gale Dines, the self-proclaimed “Male Renaissance Agitator” who calls himself Fidelbogen wrote:

In olden days of rough village justice she’d have gotten the scold’s bridle, or the the ducking stool, or the stocks. And quite right.

A couple of days later, regular A Voice for Men commenter DruidV, perhaps inspired by Fidebogen’s post, made a strikingly similar suggestion on that site:

I urge all Men here to have a look at wiki’s description of what was commonly known as a scold’s bridle, or the Branks. For whatever foolish reason, this item was done away with some time ago. This invention to end Men’s suffering, needs to be brought back into public acceptance and application, post haste, imo.

So let’s take a look at the Wikipedia page he linked to and see just what exactly this “Scold’s Bridle” was:

A scold’s bridle, sometimes called “the branks”, as well as “brank’s bridle” was a punishment device used primarily on women, as a form of torture and public humiliation.[1] It was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. The bridle-bit (or curb-plate) was about 2 inches long and 1 inch broad, projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue[2]. The “curb-plate” was frequently studded with spikes, so that if the tongue moved, it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible.[3] Wives that were seen as witches, shrews and scolds, were forced to wear a brank’s bridle, which had been locked on the head of the woman and sometimes had a ring and chain attached to it so her husband could parade her around town and the town’s people could scold her and treat her with contempt; at times smearing excrement on her and beating her, sometimes to death.

Emphasis mine.

I will be charitable and assume that both Fidelbogen and DruidV were joking. That is, they don’t literally want to strap women’s heads into ghastly torture devices, smear them with shit and beat them to death. They just think that the very notion is hilarious.

Whether the suggestions were made seriously or not, they’re still pretty hateful. Given that Fidelbogen was recently taken aboard as a regular writer for A Voice for Men, and that DruidV’s comment on that site got mostly upvotes (and no criticism) from the regulars there, would it be fair to call A Voice for Men the “underbelly of a hate movement?”

I’m not sure why that particular phrase popped into my head, but somehow it seems all too appropriate.

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Posted on January 6, 2012, in antifeminism, creepy, douchebaggery, evil women, hypocrisy, men who should not ever be with women ever, misogyny, MRA, threats, violence against men/women. Bookmark the permalink. 245 Comments.

  1. Or in DKM’s case, toy store game.

  2. That’s how he’ll end up in the news, mark my words. If you hear of an elderly man being arrested for fondling the Madame Alexander dolls in a children’s toy store while horrified kids look on, and he’s shrieking about the evil feminist mothers reporting him to the manager while being taken away, it’s Meller.

  3. I did nominate him Most Likely to Get Arrested in a Doll Museum in our year end wrap-up!

  4. @Need To Know

    Or in DKM’s case, toy store game.

    So many creepy images for such a short sentence

  5. Futrelle, I know you do not consider your posts or Marcotte’s in any way mocking, and I have no interest in trying to change your mind. However, you do support Marcotte’s comments about Ball. You did so in your post and in your comments, as did several of your commenters. I consider those comments mockery, and so do you, or you would if they were directed at women or feminists.

    I am only pointing out your contradictory position. You chastise others for doing the very things you do on a regular basis. Trying to change the subject does not change that. As for moderating my comments, it is your blog.

    Kyrie, you said that a feminist saying, “wow, the fact that you’re hurting is so offensive to me! what about my feelings?!” would never happen on this blog. It did, just about an hour after your post.

  6. Toysoldier, please link to the specific comment you are referring to, not the entire thread.

  7. That’s not exactly what I said, but never mind.

    So… just about an hour about my post, I guess you mean this one?
    And more specifically that:

    I really feel for him and the abuse he’s suffered, as I would any abuse victim I encountered. But the fact that he seems to completely disregard female victims – unless their abuser was female – in the name of his own personal vendetta against women in general and feminists in particular is disappointing at best and infuriating/ offensive at worst.

    If so, you’re terrible at reading since it say pretty much the opposite of what you think. I can only see compassion for your pain and anger for your behavior.

  8. Kyrie: It’s that TS has an agenda, and an incredibly blinkered view of what counts as, “support”.

    That, or he is dishonest as all fuck and knows precisely what he’s doing.

    I’m of the opinion it’s the latter, because when he comes to a place like this; gets his ass handed to him; with direct quotations and links and evidence, he retires to other fora (or his blog) and repeats the same shit; as if no one had ever responded to him.

    He does this repeatedly. So I stopped talking to him; because he is either incapable of understanding, or lies.

  9. I know this is the least of Meller’s ravings but… lawyeresses? LAWYERESSES?

  10. I know this is the least of Meller’s ravings but… lawyeresses? LAWYERESSES?

    Yes, isn’t it just precious how he feels the need to add the diminutive suffix whenever he’s referring to females.

  11. Yes, isn’t it just precious how he feels the need to add the diminutive suffix whenever he’s referring to females.

    “Man Boobz” seems to give him particular trouble. “Manboobzettes” is just clunky. :P

  12. I find “Manboobzettes” very cute. I don’t mind being called that.

  13. I did have a long response typed out to TS but I lost it. What I most want to say is this.

    The one thing that I have been lead to believe abuse victims face is the fear of accusations of being a liar, an attention seeker, making things up, etc. It’s definitely something I suffered from and still do, hence why it’s only in the last couple of years, since the age of 28, I’ve started to talk about what happened to me to my close friends and I still find myself slightly bracing for impact if I tell anyone about it, waiting for the accusations.

    To have another abuse victim, someone who I naively thought would understand such feelings, use that against me and essentially accuse me of being all “What about my feelings?” and selfish despite the fact I had explicitly expressed sympathy for him, is really upsetting beyond words and I will now probably think twice before disclosing what happened to me to anyone else in future.

    I also note you didn’t address me directly, TS, but whined to David about my post as if you expect me to be banned or silenced or something. I think that’s pretty cowardly.

  14. Ponkz: You were just another took in the, ongoing, attempt by TS to try and portray ManBoobz (and feminism in general) as hating men. Any little thing he thinks shows some inconsistency between any two elements (even if they are completely different people, talking about completely different things) he will pretend is the intentional effort of one person to cover up another’s hypocrisy/hatred.

    That anyone can say anything TS disagrees with, and not be shot down by every person who might have heard/seen it = oppression and scorn unmeasurable.

    That’s his schtick.

  15. I know this is the least of Meller’s ravings but… lawyeresses? LAWYERESSES?

    Me, myself, personally, I prefer “litigatrix”.

  16. Oh, I know, Pecunium. Lesson learned. I won’t bother engaging him in future. It’s clearly not worth my time or effort.

    Like I mentioned, I tend to think well of everyone and that can lead to perhaps some naivety on my part sometimes (though I’m not completely stupid, I hasten to add!). I thought I could speak some sense to him because I had the naive idea that abuse victims would look out for and listen to one another and it’s disappointing to see how apparently wrong I am.

    I didn’t really fully expect him to listen to me to be honest, but to find him wilfully misrepresenting me as a selfish attention seeker is beyond the pale. I’ll just ignore him in future and steer well clear of anything he posts in.

  17. Kyrie, let us quote Ponkz in full context:

    I was sexually abused and raped as a child during the ages 8-10. It is only in recent years that I’ve started to talk about it and feel better about myself. I’ve suffered on and off with depression over the years and used to self-harm. I’m now in a place in my life where I’m a lot happier about myself and so feel more confident about speaking about it.

    I say this because honestly TS makes me really angry. I really feel for him and the abuse he’s suffered, as I would any abuse victim I encountered. But the fact that he seems to completely disregard female victims – unless their abuser was female – in the name of his own personal vendetta against women in general and feminists in particular is disappointing at best and infuriating/ offensive at worst.

    Hey, TS! I was raped too! By A MAN!!! I realise he was a bad man, so note that I’m not angry at men in general as a result of this! You cannot erase me or my experience, no matter how hard you try!

    I’m a survivor too and honestly I have open arms for any fellow survivor no matter their who they are. But if my experience, what I went through, means fuck all to you because I’m female? In all seriousness, fuck you.

    In short, Ponkz accused me of disregarding female victims solely because I talk about my experiences and those of other male survivors and then talking about how she feels about me doing something to her I did not do. I have gotten compassion before, so I know what it looks like. That was not it. Instead, it sounds remarkably like, “Wow, the fact that you’re hurting is so offensive to me! what about my feelings?!” You do not show compassion by attacking someone for talking about something you do not think is important, and you certainly do not do it by saying, “I feel for you, but…”

  18. Ponkz, you did not express sympathy. You attacked me personally and used my past to start it. I am quite used to feminists doing that, particularly when I write or say something they disagree with, so I am not offended, bothered, or surprised by your comments. However, just because I am not bothered by it does not mean I will tolerate it.

    Since you stated that you are just starting to talk about your abuse, I assume you have not spoken to many abuse victims. Please allow me to offer some advice: before you say or write anything to abuse victim, ask how you would feel if that comment were directed at you. For instance, how would you feel if someone wrote your comments to me to you?

    I did not “whine” to Manboobz. I responded to Kyrie’s comment that no feminist on this blog would ever write anything close to “Wow, the fact that you’re hurting is so offensive to me! what about my feelings?”, which you unfortunately did. I understand that you do not think you did that, however, having been on the receiving end of comments like that from feminists for almost a decade, I do not believe I am mistaken. To this point, if I were mistaken, I think you would have clarified your intent rather than claiming I called you selfish, saying that you will “think twice before disclosing,” or saying that you thought you could “speak some sense to” me.

    You mentioned that you thought “abuse victims would look out for and listen to one another and it’s disappointing to see how apparently wrong I am.” I am disappointed that you never thought to apply that to yourself. Again, I hope that you will think about what you write to abuse victims before you write it and ask how you would feel is someone directed that at you.

    And if you are in need of support or someone to talk to, might I suggest contacting RAINN. They have a list of local organizations that help female victims, and they may be able to help you find a support group or therapist in your area.

  19. Ponkz, you did not express sympathy

    You really have trouble seeing reality, don’t you? Ponkz very clearly did express sympathy, as have many people here. Ponkz then went on to criticize you. It’s possible to express sympathy for someone who has been abused AND ALSO to disagree with that person, find that person objectionable, etc.

    There are numerous commenters here who have been abused. You seem to have no trouble attacking their views, calling them liars, etc etc.

  20. Being abused does not give you a free pass on being a jerk TS. And your erasing other people’s pain is being a jerk.

  21. After reading back through a bunch of your comments, TS, I find myself thoroughly sick of your bullshit.

    So if you want to keep commenting here, I ask you one thing:

    You’ve repeatedly referred to me writing a post “mocking” Thomas Ball. I want you to provide a quote from me that “mocks” him. Not a quote from me criticizing his advocacy of terrorism, but one MOCKING him.

    If you can find such a quote from me, you can keep posting here.
    If you can’t find such a quote (and you won’t), admit that you are wrong, and stop referring to my post as “mocking.”

    If you can’t do one or the other, then you’re done commenting here.

  22. You know, Davey Boy, magnifying a few lines from exceptionally long suicide note and obsessing over them, let alone smearing others for merely posting said note, is caricaturization in the name of demonization. Mocking? Maybe.

  23. Toysoldier: Your attempt to show that I “mocked” Ball: 1) Misrepresented what I wrote 2) Misrepresented what Marcotte wrote and 3) misrepresented what it means to “mock.” So you are done here.

    forweg: It doesn’t matter what percentage of the manifesto was given over to Ball’s advocacy of terrorism. Ball wrote the manifesto, and killed himself, in what he made very clear was an attempt to inspire others to commit terrorism. That was the point.

    AVfM has written glowingly of Ball, and has never disowned his advocacy of terrorism. The new AVfM theme song says of Ball: “His death will not go in vain.”

    Elam posted the manifesto in his “activism” section on the website. The only “activism” Ball endorsed was firebombing government buildings.

    If Elam does not support Ball’s call for terrorism, why does he have the manifesto up on his “activism” page?

    If Elam does not support Ball’s call for terrorism, why has he not publicly disavowed it in clear and unambiguous terms?

  24. “forweg: It doesn’t matter what percentage of the manifesto was given over to Ball’s advocacy of terrorism. Ball wrote the manifesto, and killed himself, in what he made very clear was an attempt to inspire others to commit terrorism. That was the point.”

    No, Ball killed himself because the courts wouldn’t allow him to see his own children, regardless of whatever “terrorism” he attempted to inspire.

    “The new AVfM theme song says of Ball: “His death will not go in vain.””

    And it should not. Everyone should bear witness to what feminist governance brings about.

    “If Elam does not support Ball’s call for terrorism, why does he have the manifesto up on his “activism” page?”

    Because the words of a man who self-immolated himself in protest of our anti-male society is of historical importance, and should be available to be read by all, even if some of those words are uncomfortable.

    “If Elam does not support Ball’s call for terrorism, why has he not publicly disavowed it in clear and unambiguous terms?”

    There is nothing to suggest Elam supports Ball’s firebombing quotes expect for people who are looking to dig up dirt on Elam by cherry-picking a few lines out of a 50 paragraph document.

    Paul Elam posting Thomas Ball’s suicide note does not equate to Paul Elam agreeing with everything in that note. Is that difficult to understand?

  25. Also, forweg, it was a lot more than a few lines. He devoted a significant portion of the manifesto to

    1) explaining why he thought courts/police, etc are “collaborators”
    2) urging men to literally firebomb courthouses and police stations
    3) explaining how to make effective Molotov cocktails

    And I only quoted a portion of the relevant sections; I left out, for example, this:

    And boys, do not try to burn down Washington’s Dept. of Justice Building in an effort to get rid of the Office of Violence Against Women. Their offices are over at N Street.

    and this:

    If they think Al Qaeda is a pain in the ass, wait to they see what Americans can do once their fuse is lit.

    Lots more where that came from.

  26. forweg, I just cut and pasted the sections of the manifesto directly relating to his call for terrorism into a document; it adds up to more than 1300 words.

    It’s not “cherry picking a few lines.” It’s the whole point of the thing.

  27. How hard is it to say “I unequivocally refuse to support in anyway the idea that one should solve their issues with the currently American judicial system by blowing up any buildings or hurting anyone involved in it. If you have a problem with the system do something constructive like…”?

    Seriously, how hard is it? It is not hard. I just wrote it. So your claim that Elam is not hunky dory with it is laughable at best.

  28. “The new AVfM theme song says of Ball: “His death will not go in vain.””

    And it should not. Everyone should bear witness to what feminist governance brings about.

    “If Elam does not support Ball’s call for terrorism, why does he have the manifesto up on his “activism” page?”

    Because the words of a man who self-immolated himself in protest of our anti-male society is of historical importance, and should be available to be read by all, even if some of those words are uncomfortable.

    Frankly, as far as Ball’s form of protest and the so-called “anti-male society” and “feminist governance,” listen. We are talking about a person who, according to his own words, hit a child out of anger, was removed from his home by the police because of this act, “didn’t lift a finger” to save his marriage, and owed no more than $3K in child support at the time of his death. Which he could have borrowed to pay off. In his own words. And then he wrapped that story up in an anti-government, anti-woman screed so that people like you would believe that he had some greater goal in mind.

    GOD, I really feel bad for the guy that he chose an incredibly painful, horrible death, but you know what? That doesn’t mean that he was right or that he had no choice or that society is against men. It just means that MRAs like hearing an MRM message from a guy who wanted to be a big martyr. Surprise.

  29. That’s the thing about Ball. The judge in his case was correct – if someone hits their kids, it’s not unreasonable to deny them custody if another, non-child-hitting parent is available. These guys want to act like he was denied the ability to see his kids just because he had a penis, but nope, that’s not what actually happened.

  30. The idea that speaking of the part of the text that clearly advocate terrorism is “cherry picking” is very funny.

  31. NOTE TO TOYSOLDIER: This is what you wrote to try to “prove” that I had “mocked” Ball:

    To mock means, “to attack or treat with ridicule, contempt, or derision.” That means that if a person says they killed themselves over the pain of their divorce and custody problems, and someone then says that the person actually killed themselves out of revenge based on no evidence other than a dislike of the views the person held, that is mockery because they are treating the person with contempt and derision. That is what Marcotte did in her comment and her post, and you wrote a post highlighting and agreeing with it.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    I’m pretty sure that speculating on why someone did something does not count as mockery. I think it counts as speculation.

    Also, you assert that Marcotte’s opinions were

    based on no evidence other than a dislike of the views the person held,

    In fact, Marcotte’s post on the subject spelled out the evidence and the logic behind her speculation, citing specific passages in Ball’s manifesto that supported her speculative argument. You may not agree with her speculation, but you cannot deny that she has reasons for it, and that these reasons are based in part on evidence in Ball’s manifesto — notably, his admission that he had abused a child.

    So in other words, you are misrepresenting her. As you so often do with your opponents.

    http://manboobz.com/2011/06/27/amanda-marcotte-on-the-thomas-ball-suicide-and-mra-haters/

    http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/wingnut_bloggers_rally_behind_a_violent_call_for_revolution

    Oh, there’s mockery in Marcotte’s post, to be sure, but it isn’t directed at Ball — it’s directed at those who are treating him as a martyr, rather than (as I think would be more appropriate) as the moral equivalent of a suicide bomber.

    EDIT: I added some stuff to this and made other edits to this comment shortly after I posted it.

  32. The cherrypicking defense is great: if you ever fail to quote something in its entirety, it’s possible that you’re leaving out the part that says “Oh, by the way, this is all a big joke and I actually think the exact opposite.” So all you have to do is write a rambling screed too long to be quoted in its entirety, and voila, you’re immune to criticism!

  33. Toysoldier offers his version of some of the discussion here:

    http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/this-is-what-it-looks-like-v4/

    I’m pretty sure the things he quotes don’t actually show what he thinks they show.

  34. I was quoted on someone’s blog! My life is complete.

  35. what…the…fuck have I just been reading? “scolds bridle”…fuck, I should’ve listened the warning before reading too many posts on this blog. Some people are really, really scary…

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